Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Service News - May 2014


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Volume 6, Issue 4         

May 2014 

IN THIS ISSUE

MD SIGNS BILL TO PREPARE FOR IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

TRUST FUND WINS BEST URBAN BMP IN THE BAY AWARD

CCS PARTNERS WITH CBF TO PLANT GRASSES AT FERRY POINT

REGISTER NOW FOR DATA IN THE ESTUARY: CLIMATE EDITION

 

IN THE ZONE is a service from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Chesapeake & Coastal Service (CCS) that delivers timely information, tools, and resources to those who live, work, and play in Maryland's coastal zone.

 

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CCS SPOTLIGHT: TRUST FUND AWARDS $64 MILLION FOR PROJECTS IN FY '15

Innovative financing program celebrates 8 years of local water quality improvements

 

Photo provided by Parks and People Foundation. 

In another boost for Chesapeake Bay water quality, Governor Martin O'Malley has allocated $64.44 million to the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund in the State's Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2007, this unique financing program has directed a total of $256 million to local governments and organizations for 1,000 nonpoint source pollution projects that reduce harmful nutrient and sediment runoff into the Bay.

 

"Stormwater runoff remains one of the single greatest challenges in our fight to restore the health of Maryland's waterways," said Governor O'Malley. "The Trust Fund provides a means for State and local partners to identify innovative, cost-effective approaches to meet our Bay restoration goals, and provides the financial and technical resources to get them up and running." Click here to view the full press release.

 

For more information regarding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, please contact Gabe Cohee with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8753.

 

GOVERNOR O'MALLEY SIGNS BILLS TO PREPARE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE 

The Bay Acidification Bill & the CoastSmart Bill ensure safe investments in the future

Photo by Graham Slaughter.

Governor Martin O'Malley recently signed into law two pieces of legislation that will help the State prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather in Maryland. The first, the Bay Acidification Bill, will create a Task Force to evaluate and address the effects of changing chemistry in the Chesapeake Bay and other Maryland waterways. The second, the CoastSmart Bill, will ensure the State follows standards to make safe and fiscally-wise investments when building or updating State agency structures located in vulnerable coastal areas.

"As severe weather events grow in size and impact, and our Bay's resources become threatened, the costs of inaction to our economy, society and environment will only grow exponentially," said Governor O'Malley. "This legislation helps us to get out in front of these very real, very important climate issues, and to secure the health, safety and future of our State and its citizens. Click here to view the full press release.

 

For more information regarding Climate Change Resiliency in Maryland, please contact Zoe Johnson with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8741.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE & RISING TIDES EXPOSE FORMER SEAFOOD CAPITAL

Greg Kahn traveled the Eastern Shore to capture damage from a changing climate

Click Image to view full photo stream. Photo by Greg Kahn.

Climate change is real, and most Americans believe it to be real. But even most of those who acknowledge the reality of man-made climate change see it as, at worst, an abstract and distant threat. Only 54% of Americans believe that climate change has already begun, and 36% see it as a serious threat to their own way of life, according to a recent Gallup poll. That leaves 64% of the country relatively undisturbed by the possibility for catastrophic environmental change in their lifetime.

 

On Maryland's Eastern Shore, the tide is now rising at a speed of about three millimeters per year. While that might not sound like much, it's enough to completely submerge the region within the next half-century. In the meantime, residents have had to learn to cope with other consequences, like eroding real estate values and salt water that leeches the vitality out of their farm soil. Click here to view full article by Elissa Curtis and Ned Resnikoff of MSNBC.

 

For more information regarding Maryland's involvement in climate change resiliency, please contact Zoe Johnson with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8741.

 

TRUST FUND PROJECT WINS BEST URBAN BMP IN THE BAY AWARD

Cabin Branch Stream Restoration showcases innovative regenerative stream channel 

Click Image to learn more about the Cabin Branch restoration project.

The Cabin Branch Stream Restoration showcases innovative Regenerative Stream Channel (RSC) restoration technology, highlighting within one project three prototype RSC applications for water quality improvement in streams degraded by stormwater runoff: 1) an End of Pipe Retrofit utilizing removal of legacy sediments; 2) a retrofit of an out-dated stormwater dry-pond, capturing water at parking lot level and releasing it through a RSC system to receiving downstream waters, and 3) a sand seepage wetland which demonstrates the classic approach to RSC, using the standard construction sequence and raising the incised stream channel. By installing a system of cobble riffles, berms, seepage wetlands, shallow pools, and native plants, we are integrating ecosystem restoration with stormwater runoff management and restoring stream and wetland function, reconnecting the stream to the floodplain, re-establishing historic plant communities, and restoring and rehydrating the remaining headwaters, adjacent floodplain and riparian areas of Cabin Branch.

 

Click here for more information regarding the Cabin Branch Stream Restoration, or contact Laura Connelly with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8825.

 

CCS PARTNERS WITH CBF AT FERRY POINT LIVING SHORELINE PLANTING

Volunteers planted spartina patens and spartina alternaflora at CCS restoration project

Click Image to view full photo stream. Photo by Coreen Weilminster.

CCS and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently invited volunteers to help plant grasses at Ferry Point Park as part of the final stages of a shoreline restoration project. CCS has spent more than five years planning for the project, six months rebuilding the deteriorating coast, and is now working to create a robust living shoreline. Made possible through a partnership between the State and Queen Anne's County, the project aims to restore the loss of wetland in Kent Island, safeguard land and sea life habitat, protect Kent Narrows from extreme weather, and improve recreation. The park is set to reopen to the public in mid-summer of this year.  Click here to view the full press release.

 
For more information regarding Ferry Point Shoreline Enhancement Project, please contact Bhaskar Subramanian with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8786.

 

TRUST FUND PILOTS TWO NEW AGRICULTURAL DENITRIFICATION BMPs

Midshore Riverkeeper installs Woodchip Bioreactors & Denitrification Walls

Click Image for full photo stream. Photo by Sarah Hilerbrand.

 

Two new Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are being piloted for denitrification on Maryland's Eastern Shore. With funding from the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is partnering with state, federal, and local partners on the installation and monitoring of two Woodchip Bioreactors and Denitrification Walls. The four projects were installed during the fall of 2013 and are now being used as demonstration projects. The practices are being studied for effectiveness of nitrogen removal and are being considered by the MD Deptartment of Agriculture and Soil Conservation Districts to determine if these practices can be approved for use in the Chesapeake Bay Model and MD Cost Share Program. If approved, farmers and counties will be able to install the practices in return for credits toward Bay restoration goals.

 

The two practices have great potential to filter waters coming from agricultural fields since they limit or eliminate the amount of valuable crop land needed to treat stormwater. The Woodchip Bioreactor mimics the saturated decomposition process of natural wetlands. In this method, an underground trench filled with woodchips interrupts flow from belowground drain lines, known as drain tiles, designed to move water off of low lying farm fields. When the water is filtered through the saturated woodchips the carbon and bacteria present in the system convert nitrate in the water to nitrogen gas. This reduces the nitrate leaving the farm fields that contribute to the water quality problems of the Bay. The Denitrification Walls work in a very similar way, but instead of working with drain tiles, they are built along the edge of a farm field to intercept near-surface groundwater. These narrow trenches are filled with a 50/50 soil to sawdust mixture that reduces nitrogen in the water before it flows to the tributaries of the Bay. Both practices can treat large areas of drainage without reducing the overall farmable land on the surface.

 

In other states, these practices have been shown to reduce up to 90% of nitrates in stormwater when properly used. Both practices are being tested for the first time in Maryland through this partnership at farms in the town of Ridgely in Caroline County, and in the town of Queen Anne on the border of Talbot and Queen Anne's County. These projects are currently treating waters flowing into the Choptank River and have great potential for future widespread use to reduce nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay.

Click here for more information regarding these two agricultural denitrification BMPs, or please contact Sarah Hilderbrand with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8793.

 

ENGAGE IN OCEAN PLANNING ACTIVITIES IN THE MID-ATLANTIC

Regional Planning Body In-person Meeting in Baltimore on May 20 and 21

Photo by Michelle Lennox.

The Maryland Coastal Program wishes to highlight an upcoming opportunity for you to engage in ocean planning activities in the Mid-Atlantic. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB) is hosting its next in-person meeting in Baltimore on May 20 and 21. Topics to be discussed by the MidA RPB during the meeting include: MidA RPB member activities underway that are relevant for regional ocean planning; next steps and a timeline for products and processes; strategy to further engage stakeholders; and revisions to the Draft Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Planning Framework

 

Please mark your calendars, and click here to RSVP; registration is not required to attend, but encouraged to assist in planning for the meeting. The meeting is open to the public and includes a number of opportunities for input. Details about the meeting (agenda, materials, and logistical details) will be posted on the MidA RPB website. For more information regarding MARCO meetings, please contact Michelle Lennox at 410-260-8747.

 

CBNERR-MD PREPARES FOR DATA IN THE ESTUARY: CLIMATE EDITION

Sign up now for the 5 day workshop in Lothian, Upper Marlboro, and Annapolis

Click Image to view past workshops. Photo by Coreen Weilminster.

From June 23-27th, CBNERR-MD is hosting Data in the Estuary: Climate Edition, which is specialized for Maryland middle and high school teachers. This 5 day workshop is held at the Maryland Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve sites in Lothian, Upper Marlboro, and Annapolis. New this year is an opportunity to pilot a new National Geographic curriculum using FieldScope to understand Sea Level Rise in the Chesapeake Bay with a $250 stipend upon completed classroom implementation.  Click here to register for the course.

 

Click here to learn more about Data in the Estuary: Climate Edition, or contact Trystan Sill with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8827.

 

THE COLLABORATIVE HELPS IN GREENING THE TOWN OF CHESTERTOWN

Volunteers plant stream-side buffer at community park along the Chester River

 

Photo by Kees de Mooy.

Chestertown is looking noticeable greener these days, thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers who recently planted four acres of trees at Margo Bailey Community Park.  Funded through the Governor's Stream Restoration Challenge, the 210 new trees which include species such as the American Dogwood (Cornus florida), River Birch (Betula nigra), Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor), Tulip Polar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and Tupelo (Nyssa spp.), were planted in close proximity to a tributary of the Chester River, reestablishing a stream-side buffer that likely existed before the area was developed. 

 

Restoring vegetation in the riparian zone helps to slow stormwater runoff, allowing water to soak into the soil and filtering out pollutants before reaching local streams.  Led by Kees De Mooy, Administrator for the Town of Chestertown, volunteers braved near-freezing temperatures to plant trees and place mulch.  Click here to view the full Headwaters story.

 

For more information regarding Watershed Assistance Collaborative restoration efforts, please contact Phillip Stafford with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8720.

 

STORM DRAIN STENCIL PROGRAM RELEASES MAPPLER MOBILE APP

CCS set to use new app in Chesapeake Bay watershed stormwater education 

Click Image to view Storm Drain Stenciling Map.

DNR's Storm Drain Stencil Program is now tech-savy with this year's addition of a Mappler Mobile App, designed by Vertices specifically for Maryland.  The smart phone or tablet app allows storm drain stencilers to upload their location; pictures; and other information while in the field working on a project. The intention for this map is to create a picture of stencil projects around the state completed by students and other citizen groups. Adding to the map creates a 'feel good' moment for students and helps them to see that they are part of a team of citizens across the state working toward a common goal. 

 

Click here for instructions on how to participate, or contact Stacy Epperson with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8775.

Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or ideas for future IN THE ZONE e-mails.
  

 

 

A publication of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA13NOS4190136. This publication is funded (in part) by a grant/cooperative agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies.

 

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Maryland Department of Natural Resources | Chesapeake & Coastal Service | Tawes State Building | 580 Tayor Avenue, E-2 | Annapolis | MD | 21401